More bark than bite? Assessing China’s coercive measures in Scandinavia

Research paper
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The Nordic countries  Foreign policy  Diplomacy  Asia
Written by

Andreas Bøje Forsby

Researcher, Foreign Policy and Diplomacy, DIIS


Amid growing concern about Chinese coercion, this article examines the extent to which Beijing has resorted to such measures in Scandinavia based on case studies of Denmark and Sweden. Distinguishing between the actual use of and threats of using coercive measures, the article finds few instances of coercion even if Chinese authorities have repeatedly warned of negative consequences of violating China’s interests in the case of Sweden, while frequently expressing anger and frustration at perceived provocations by the Danish government or NGOs. However, as relations between Norway and China have also recently deteriorated, the risks of Norway being subjected to Chinese coercion should be assessed in a broader geographical context given an increasing number of reported cases from other regions.